Financing gaps in social protection: Global estimates and strategies for developing countries in light of the COVID-19 crisis and beyond

This paper provides updated regional and global estimates of the costs and financing gaps for targets 1.3 and 3.8 of the SDGs relating to social protection and health care in 2020 and projections of incremental financial needs for reaching universal coverage in 2030. The paper analyses options for filling these financing gaps in developing countries during the crisis and beyond using domestic and external resources, including the strengthening and expansion of contributory systems. The analysis incorporates the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The paper considers five policy areas of the social protection floor (SPF): children; maternity; disability; old age; and health care. Findings are further grouped by geographical regions and country income groups. The paper also estimate the financing gap of contributory systems – and therefore the potential fiscal space that could be created assuming a potential increase in social security coverage or contribution rates or both. Finally, it provides a list of fiscal space options, paying particular attention to options for raising revenues from social security contributions and taxation and official development assistance (ODA).